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Meeting Our Community – @Dominik

By November 12, 2019 No Comments
Mycroft Community Profile - Dominik

Mycroft is not just open source code, it is an Open Source Community of people from across the world. Meet some of the people that make up our Open Source Community. Hear about what they have built with Mycroft, and why they got involved.

Dominik, is one of our top Skill developers and he’s always helping others learn the ropes in the Forum. His Skills include FHEM Home Automation, Severe Weather Information, ReSpeaker Pixel Ring, the now retired Amazn Music Skill, and his latest creation Apprise

He’s also provided valuable assistance in testing Mycroft out on new hardware and contributing to key systems like the WiFi Setup Client and Mic Array support.

You’ll often find Dom in the Forums helping others getting started in creating their own Skills.

Thanks for taking the time Dominik, to start off can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 47 years old and live in a small city located about 30km south-east from Cologne in Germany, together with my wife, daughter (5yo) and son (2yo). I have a degree in computer science and work for an insurance company in the “enterprise content management” department.

How do you find using Mycroft in another language and how important is it that we continue to improve the multilingual support? 

I think my English is o.k. and I speak it almost every day at work, but being able to use Mycroft in my native language – German – is very important to me as this is the language I think, dream and talk to my family at home. I guess this is also important for every other user and therefore I think multilingual support is one of the key-factors for Mycroft’s success.

Looking at translate.mycroft.ai German currently is one of the best supported languages and I use Mycroft on a daily basis.

Which is your favourite Skill that you have developed so far? What do you love about it?

Tough call, but it is the Skill which supports my home automation system (FHEM.de, a Perl-based system, mostly known and used in Germany). There was already more than one situation where this was helpful, e.g. when carrying a heavy item into an unlit room and i simply can say “Hey Mycroft, turn the lights on”. Not to forget when my wife is freezing again and a “Hey Mycroft, turn the heating to 23 degree celsius” saves the situation…

I often see the machine learning results you post in Chat. What have you been working on lately and just how many SBCs (single-board computers) have you got?

SBCs? – probably too many: two RPi3s for Mycroft (Mark-I and Picroft-AIY), another RPi3 running the home automation system, a RPi-Zero from an unfinished project (heating control), and a Respeaker Core V2 (for Mycroft testing). 

My latest addition is a Nvidia Jetson Nano which is basically a turbo-charged RPi3 with 4GB RAM and a GPU for machine learning. My idea is being able to run Mycroft locally without using any internet/cloud-services for speech-to-text (STT) and text-to-speech (TTS). So far I have mixed results: high-quality TTS is too demanding for the Nano (calculating the audio waves for a five second phrase can take up to a minute). For STT there are several solutions that are capable of real-time transcription of spoken words, but the word-error-rate for the pre-trained models currently available is still too high for daily use. But I hope this will improve in the near future…

What advice would you give to people who are wanting to get more involved in Mycroft or voice interaction?

Using Alexa, Google or Siri is easy but comes with a price tag: your privacy. 

So don’t be afraid of the technical stuff that is involved setting up Mycroft – it is worth it. And the Mycroft community is friendly and helpful.

And finally, what do you like to do outside of Mycroft? How do you wind down?

Besides spending time with my family and friends I have a lot of fun playing the keyboards in a band called “Not Only Brothers”. Two of the band-mates I know from school, the other two are actual brothers – hence the band name. We compose all songs ourselves and the genre is a mixture of rock, blues and pop. Interested how that sounds? Check out “Not Only Brothers” on Soundcloud or Bandcamp and give us a like on Facebook!